Spark in Action

With over 250 trained Spark Facilitators across ASU holding hundreds of sessions with tangible impact, The ASU Spark Method™ has ignited motivation, lifted morale, and continuously helps to build a culture of autonomy where each individual trusts and values the collective understanding that innovation starts with me™.

At ASU,  Spark has been used for Innovation Day 2019, Innovation Day 2020, The Challenge 2020, and much more, including empoweing employees to untangle difficult problems and find innovative solutions. 

Hear from some people that have experienced a Spark Session: 

"It was fun! It is not often we get the people who do the work together, to give them a forum to get their ideas out there."

"The people that were involved came up with some ideas that we hadn't thought about before in our own deparment, so it was really helpful in moving things along."

"I think we had an excellent session. We had different voice and persepectives in the room, which I think is so important when we're considering the greatest impact can be made. It opened an opportunity for us to work with different units."

"This was a great opportunity for colleages to get together to collaborate on a problem. We discovered we had a lot more commenalities than I think we realized. The facilitation was amazing and helped us get to solutions and next steps. We didn't get bogged down into details, but were able to move forward and generate ideas together."

Below are some examples of the flexible, adaptable, and useful nature of Spark.

Spark Statement
Course SchedulingScheduling Graduate Courses in ChinaThe team examined issues surrounding the scheduling of courses that typically happen in December and January of each year.The team concluded that the solution was to move the scheduling process to October and November. This allows the staff and faculty more time and flexibility to coordinate course scheduling, staff are able to respond before the holidays, and staff are able to provide students with more relevant faculty and course information during recruitment.
Student LeadershipSchool of Accountancy Honors SocietyStudent leaders from the School of Accountancy Honors Society used a Spark session to address two key issues; 1) to develop ways to increase awareness of accountancy as a career for students 2) to identify gaps in how they engage with and provide resources to studentsDuring the session, the group determined that while they do provide support for high performing high school students, they do not engage with or provide resources for average or under-performing students. The team also determined that they do not engage with or provide support and resources to students in community colleges, students moving to graduate programs or those pursuing their CPA certification.
Process ImprovementCollege Curriculum processThis team examined ways to improve the workflows and track requests using the JIRA system they are currently using.Results of the Spark session allowed the team to create a dashboard to allow people to monitor requests, and ideas for consolidating and improving team communication.
Event Planning/Process ImprovementOutstanding Faculty Mentor Awards processThe team examined the process, and discussed adopting new technology that will help streamline and speed up the workflow.The team identified a need to adjust the timeline to give staff more time to plan, develop an action list for the event and complete the work. The discussion also provided decision makers with a clearer understanding of the entire process, and the factors included in the management of the event.
Onboarding/HROnboarding of New Hires processThe team did not have a formal, documented onboarding process for new hires. This resulted in employee stress and a poor new hire experience.The team mapped the existing activities and identified bottlenecks in the process. They also identified a number of improvement opportunities that they are able to implement quickly.
Strategic Planning/Goal SettingSpark for strategy development The recruitment team held 2 separate digital Spark sessions with key stakeholders across Arizona State University and other countries.The main take away from these digital Spark sessions focused on strategic planning was that being able to offer this methodology to stakeholders all over the world, allowing the unit to come away with innovative ideas that would otherwise not have happened if it only involved people located at ASU.
Project DesignDatabase Project DesignA project team in the ASU Knowledge Enterprise organization wanted to move toward becoming a high-performing project team while working remotely.During the Spark session, the team identified ways to address their challenges. They took action on clarifying and resetting expectations with stakeholders to solidify priorities, and created a schedule of regular, coordinated check-in meetings with the outside support organization.
Engagement PlanningSustainability Practices University Engagement PlanThe university’s Sustainability Practices team used a virtual Spark session to examine how they could continue to increase the engagement of the university community in sustainable behaviors.To accomplish these goals, the Sustainability team built an action plan which included the creation of an activity prioritization tool, implementing community-based social marketing (CBSM) efforts, refining their sustainability communication approach, and the capturing and reporting of at least one critical attribute from every program
Community Engagement/Leadership TrainingTempe Leadership Training How to best support Tempe restaurants/small businesses to increase capacity before the ASU football season.The Tempe Leadership cohort used Spark in a training seminar to tackle the topic of restaurants and small business success in the Tempe area. They were able to walk away with some key ideas that could be explored to tackle this topic and a strong understanding of the Spark Method.